Pittsburgh-region men who sold stolen car parts sentenced

One used money to buy lottery tickets

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Two men who participated in a scheme to steal thousands of dollars in auto parts and then sold them on eBay were sentenced to seven years of probation Monday. Both also were ordered to pay restitution.

Brian O'Malley, 61, of Valencia pleaded guilty in March to theft and tampering with records before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David R. Cashman. He worked as the parts manager at Mick's North Hills Chrysler Jeep on McKnight Road in McCandless.

William Balzer, 62, a parts salesman there, pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property.

According to the criminal complaint, Balzer entered an agreement with his company in late 2005 to buy parts at 10 percent above dealership cost to sell on eBay. He would then sell the parts online at 10 to 12 percent above what he paid.

However, in October 2007, the complaint said, O'Malley approached Balzer and told him he could get the parts for him at a lower cost than what he paid Mick's. Balzer paid O'Malley between $1,000 and $2,000 biweekly, and he then sold the parts online.

Balzer told investigators he became suspicious when O'Malley asked him in October 2009 to return some of the parts he'd been given so they could be counted as inventory. Still, he continued buying parts from O'Malley.

The shortage was discovered by the office manager in October 2010 after an annual inventory showed $35,000 worth of parts missing.

When interviewed by police, O'Malley said he paid Mick's for some of the parts but kept most of the money for himself to pay for a gambling problem. He used the cash to buy instant scratch-off lottery tickets.

At his sentencing Monday, O'Malley apologized to the court, his company and his family, saying at the time he didn't realize it was an addiction.

"I give no excuses for what I did," he said. "I wanted to hit the next one so I could pay everything back. It snowballed."

O'Malley said he worked for the dealership for 27 years.

"I've asked God's forgiveness," he said. "I'm working to turn back to who I really am."

region

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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